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Concerning 1882: A View from a Season Ticket Holder

5 min read
by The Fighting Cock

The atmosphere at White Hart Lane has been a hot topic since AVB’s post Hull City comments. Since that Sunday evening, WHL has played host to two 1882 events and brought the movement and its ethos into the spotlight. However, mystery still surrounds the movement with some new to the premise confused and unaware of […]

The atmosphere at White Hart Lane has been a hot topic since AVB’s post Hull City comments. Since that Sunday evening, WHL has played host to two 1882 events and brought the movement and its ethos into the spotlight. However, mystery still surrounds the movement with some new to the premise confused and unaware of what it stands for.

We are all Spurs fans, and therefore regardless of whether a person is affiliated with 1882 or not they deserve a voice.

This week we received an email from a season ticket holder who has highlighted some fans primary concerns and a request for information on 1882 stance and position within the club.

article-0-1916773000000578-295_634x435“Without wishing to escalate the current pretty good natured debate to a full scale civil war, as an interested bystander to the brewing friction between the 1882 and some sections of our fan base.

These are not necessarily my own views, more an attempt to understand what may be the source of resentment/disaffection and derision from some aimed at what are certainly best intentioned Spurs fans.

I would like to state that I am an agenda free, long standing ST holder who has participated in one 1882 game against Espanyol, which was an immense and unbridled fun experience.

Why would anyone have any issue with singing and the 1882 movement?

This seems to be the question on many fans minds. “It’s just a good natured, well intentioned laugh, noise, singing for the shirt, trying to drum up an atmosphere in a sterile stadium.” Isn’t it? Well…

Not everyone goes to the game to sing. That’s just the way it is and always has been. There are many ways to consume the match – studying the players, tactics, or developing game with rigid fixed attention from a seat, with an unobscured view.

Having paid a princely sum for it, it is every single fans right to enjoy the game in whatever way they choose without it being compromised or spoilt for them by the actions of others. Your enjoyment should not affect anyone else’s. That’s just decent manners and respect for others.

Choosing not to sing, for whatever reason, is not a criminal offence. It does not indicate less passion, it does not make you a “worse fan”  and critically, it’s nothing to do with anyone else. The unpleasant, misguided  and nasty labelling, primarily on Twitter, of some ST holders as “old and boring” who should “f**k off if they don’t like it” is not the language of inclusive, shared fandom.

It’s divisive, judgmental, offensive and damaging. Dare I suggest that an awful lot of these old, boring farts kept the faith through two dark decades of being served up appalling football, sub standard players and a barren wasteland devoid of any prospect of trophies.

They were not seduced to WHL by a superstar player single handedly taking Internazionale apart. They spent their away days travelling up to Oldham on a wet night in the hope of gaining a point or three in a fight to avoid relegation. The also used to turn up with less than 20,000 others at the Lane talking about a win that might lift us into the top half. These “boring old killjoys” did the hard yards and rather than disdain, they probably deserve some respect.

The unpleasant, misguided  and nasty labelling, primarily on Twitter, of some ST holders as “old and boring” who should “f**k off if they don’t like it” is not the language of inclusive, shared fandom.

If the Club are serious about engaging with 1882 they need to improve communication to non 1882 participants when buying seats in allocated blocks at the point of purchase. At the Espanyol game there were many families who had an awful day-out surrounded by intimidating (to them) behaviour.

Many kids saw nothing of that game – a game that was no doubt chosen by “Dad” as a safe bet, where his 6 year old could sit in comfort and taste the Lane for the first time.

I saw a few families walk out. Whilst we know it’s a raucous sing-song, it doesn’t look that way when you’re three feet tall submerged in ticker tape and surrounded by blokes with no shirts on, holding their shoes in the air. The ticket office must be encouraged to inform buyers of seats in an 1882 block that it is “set aside” and not suitable for families with young kids etc.

A tiny proportion of songs sung are of a highly questionable tone – it’s a dangerous game to seek to occupy some kind of moral high ground by proclaiming “You used to sing down there” to the assembled die-hards in the Park Lane lower. This will never win any friends and could give credence to those that might consider 1882 as a nouveau or hipster and a by-product of Skyball and nothing whatsoever to do with being a fan. “Who do they think they are?” would be an unsurprising thought.

The perception of “self appointed game changers, waltzing in to ‘our’ ground and deciding what’s what” is I’m sure, wide of the mark and wholly misplaced. I do think however, there’s more than a few that may be thinking that.

For whatever reason, there is a hint of them and us. Perhaps the positioning and projection of 1882 needs a tweak, the message could perhaps be more inclusive, “come join us,” “all in this together” etc. A lack of open-mindedness and humility is probably more apparent than real but in seeking to dilute any resistance or suspicion about motives it might be something to address?

I love what 1882 are trying to do and I have immense respect and admiration for the energy, determination, balls and sheer joy they exude in trying to do something to reverse and renew the atmosphere at the Lane.

I wish I was 18 again and as willfully excited about making some noise. I think they are a source of pride. They should be applauded, supported and encouraged – but they are us and we are them. That might be the nub of it for me.”

[author name=”Paul Johnson” avatar=”https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/378800000678546103/5fb5e5187f53be1fcc4b4a90076b7042.jpeg” twitter=”SniersMoregut[/linequote]

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

12 Comments

  1. David Patten
    14/11/2013 @ 6:52 pm

    All those old codgers have supported Spurs longer than most 1882 aficionados have been alive…so yeah, respect should definitely be given.

    But all of this is a by-product of all seater stadiums and high ticket prices. Atmosphere at football in general bares little resemblance to the halcyon days of the 70s and 80s. I mean, who’d want to actually sit at a game?? For most of us it was about the camaraderie, the singing and jumping around, and losing your mates in the chaos after a goal. The seats were for people who didn’t want to do those things.

    Such atmosphere lives on in places like Argentina and Turkey where crowds are a writhing, exuberant mass, full of noise and intensity. That era in the UK is sadly consigned to the past.

  2. Dan Jones
    14/11/2013 @ 7:17 pm

    All fair comments from Paul there and I share a similar view. I posted this on DML’s recent blog about 1882 so worth repeating here.

    I’m a Park Lane season ticket holder for over 10 years and do regular away games. First up let me say that I’m not in any way against what 1882 are trying to do here and applaud it, our home atmosphere’s been generally awful for a couple of years now and only seems to be getting worse so credit to them for actually trying to make a positive change in that respect. The one thing that could never be called into question was our support. Sadly that’s not been true of late.

    But my views from my experiences of witnessing the 1882 lot at the lane are that although what they’re trying to do really is great in many ways how they’re going about doing it isn’t so. It can seem cliquey yes but it’s in the main formed of internet folk and even more so a large group of twitter folk. It’s going to be cliquey. But there’s no issue with that for me, it’s open to everyone after all. It’s the songs and chants that are sung that I think lets it down the most. I’ve heard ‘we need more/new songs’ mentioned a lot. But do we really? Why? There’s not many teams in the league with a greater and more varied catalogue of songs and chants than Spurs. The question I asked recently though was what’s the ultimate aim of 1882? Is it just a block where these like minded fans can go and have a bit of a private party or do they truly want to try and get the whole of the lane rocking again, not just one block of it. I’ve still not heard a definitive answer on this. If the former then fair enough and that is how it’s come across from witnessing it at the games, but the latter would be far better. For that to work though my belief is that they need to stick to the traditional, classic, goosebump inducing songs that we already have and have had for years and years. The songs that the whole ground knows and is famous for, that every stand joins in with as soon as they get going. ‘Oh when the Spurs…’ needs to be sung on a lengthy loop, slowly, verse after verse after verse before finally speeding it up. ‘My eyes have seen the glory…’ another and one that I’ve rarely if ever heard sung by 1882. These are songs that will involve, include and encourage every corner of the ground.

    On the flipside of this the random, made up, non spurs, championship and often embarrassing songs and chants that I’ve heard coming from the 1882 block will never get the involvement of the whole ground. They’re always going to remain inclusive to the people in that block alone as nobody else knows them and that’s what I think can make people view it as a cliquey, non inclusive set up. I’ve heard the comments and views of many long term ST holders around me in the Park Lane during these games and whilst they’re for the principle they’ve often cringed at the execution. The shoes off thing, the pogo thing, the mobile phones thing, the poznan style thing… that’s never gonna extend beyond the 1882 block let’s be honest. That’s never gonna involve the rest of the crowd. Whereas belting out the true, classy, traditional Spurs classics for pretty much 90 minutes on a loop… now that’s something we’d all love to see and hear. A block, a large group of passionate fans acting as conductor for the rest of the ground. Hundreds of voices replacing the drum to start chants and lift the place. That would be an atmosphere.

    But that’s just my take, that’s what I’d love to see. Not knocking the idea as I said, far from, just my views and hopefully some constructive criticism. Look at the atmosphere our fans create away from home. It’s class, always has been. That’s exactly what we need to recreate back at the lane. You don’t get any of that championship or made up nonsense sung or chanted at away games, just the traditional Spurs numbers that make all other Spurs fans proud when sat hearing our fans and support through the tv, radio etc.

    The idea is great. I’d just like to see it involve the whole ground more, to be more traditional and to cut half the crap they come out with. That’s not our identity, our identity doesn’t need changing. As for several ST holders having their noses put out of joint by 1882 I’m not sure that’s true from what I’ve heard. Though I do know many who found the ‘Park Lane give us a song…’ followed by ‘sssshhhhh’ to be pretty condescending in their eyes. But then I’m sure (I know) some ST holders tend to think they’re better fans than others who aren’t. Which is rubbish. But then I also suspect there’s a fair few youngsters amongst the 1882 crowd who barely get to games other than ones the club can’t even give away tickets for, sniff a couple of cans of Fosters and think they’re the second coming of Spurs fans. Equal rubbish.

    It’s a real shame that something like this which should be seen as such a positive has been so divisive really.

    • BushHillSpurs
      14/11/2013 @ 7:49 pm

      “There’s not many teams in the league with a greater and more varied catalogue of songs and chants than Spurs.”

      HAHAHA, Stopped reading there. This is before 1882 came along right? Head=sand.

  3. JohnnyB
    14/11/2013 @ 7:34 pm

    It funny because I would have thought the die-hard fans who have been attending since whenever would recognise the 1882 as something they used to do rather than some new breed of hipster fan.

  4. Rons
    14/11/2013 @ 7:51 pm

    I echo JohnnyB’s comment if these guys were diehards way back when then they will remember what it was like when WHL used to rock and that feeling when you told the story after the game or the pre game hype. How are these young 18 year old fans supposed to follow their team without having a rich mummy and daddy. These games give them a chance to see their idols and support their team.

    IF ST holders and old skool fans dont want to join in with “vocal support” of the team then thats fair enough but you cant grumble anyone 90 mins of singing for the shirt. Football is escapism, also add what AVB said about the fans getting behind the team dont we owe to them the badge to be the 12th man. This aint Real Madrid the last time i checked we have no galacticos added the fact we have a new team some welcoming its been for them.

  5. Eddiev14
    14/11/2013 @ 9:11 pm

    I take the point that not everyone goes to games to sing, but people need to understand that 1882 was set up to be inclusive – open to all – and certainly not exclusive.

    I used to have a season ticket at Spurs but dropped it due to a mixture of financial reasons and, frankly, White Hart Lane simply wasn’t the same atmospheric place I walked into as a starry eyed kid 20 years ago.

    1882 has rekindled my love of going to games. I’ve been to every one and, yeah, it takes me a couple of renditions to learn the new songs but – you know what? – I picked them up alright. The notion that a chant won’t catch on just because it’s new is absurd.

    Whilst I can see the point about the club needing to work with the 1882 to forewarn people that the block they are buying in might be less suitable for little ones, that is for the club to sort out.

    The thing that irked me was this notion that people don’t want to sing and get behind the team. Ironically the point about the Inter Milan game is poignant because the atmosphere that night was absolutely incredible, as are most of the Arsenal games.

    So the rest of the stadium can do it, but they choose not to.

    Why? Modern football has paralysed so many fans with this winning at all costs mentality that people turn up to games worrying so much about top four blah, blah that they forget to enjoy themselves and support the team.

    And that, my friends, is what 1882 is all about. Enjoying going to games and getting behind your team. Shaking off your fear.

    Be you 1882, West Stand, whoever, anyone is capable of doing that. Just remember that Inter game…

    • BushHillSpurs
      14/11/2013 @ 9:18 pm

      Great post.

    • Park Lane Spurs
      15/11/2013 @ 12:56 pm

      spot on son…

  6. Dog's Mess
    14/11/2013 @ 10:01 pm

    Some interesting points raised by the article, but I think the overall idea that “not everyone goes to sing” misses the point entirely.

    Fact is that those who have issues with the movement have no greater claim to fandom or ownership than anyone who is in the movement. Firstly, many of them are simply fortunate to have had the funds and time to become season ticket holders and go so often. Others have had age on their side in terms of the years they have put into fandom. In fact, as someone who is almost 40, a long term fan and part of 1882 I find the implication that it’s a bunch of 18 year olds really rather offensive.

    In any event, football, historically, was a game of support. That’s what fans did. That’s why they went there. This notion that people go to study tactics, absorb the game quietly and so on simply do not get what football was historically and why 1882 are trying to revive that. You think that back in the 50s and 60s people were going to the Lane and sitting there quietly absorbing the tactics? Do me a favour.

    If people want to quietly sit and absorb tactics then they can do so on the TV. Frankly it’s much easier to do that view the television these days than it is while you are in the ground anyway. The Lane should be a place for the 12th man. I’m not saying that people have to sing for the full 90 minutes, but, in my view, anyone who buys a ticket has a moral duty to contribute in some fashion or another to the atmosphere and the support of their side. Personally I think this is all a cover for the inherent snobbery exhibited by some season ticket holders (by no means all, or a majority) that they are somehow better fans, and I think what this movement has done is shine a spotlight on certain individuals who have helped to contribute to the general dire atmosphere that now exists on match days, especially in the league, and that has made them squirm and become defensive.

    Bottom line is that people may have a right to sit their quietly, but that doesn’t mean that such a right translates into the correct way to support your team.

  7. martin tucker
    15/11/2013 @ 12:06 am

    Many scoffed at Man Utds Singing section at a recent game . But it makes sense to me. I’ve been to 2 of 1882’s recent events. Those being Hull and Sheriff. And while I personally had a great time I did notice some around me who were not! I think more attention should be given the the German match day experience of designated vocal areas. That way everybody knows what to expect when buying a ticket for a certain section. German terracing and match ticket prices would also be nice. But that is to much to ask.

    • Park Lane Spurs
      15/11/2013 @ 1:05 pm

      totally agree and with the new ground coming, 1882 need to communicate to the club, so that when the extra 15,000 extra season tickets come out there is a clear area where like minded fans can go… to vocally support the team. If we can make the new park lane like the home end at Dortmund (which it looks to have been designed to be like) it will be awesome. Let’s not make the same mistake Woolwich did by spreading there already quite fans around their new library(However maybe that’s what the clubs really want… silent, rich fans who pay £70 a ticket and come / go home nice and quietly)

  8. Tim Sherwood
    15/11/2013 @ 11:47 am

    Have found this article from Paul and in particular the comments from Dan a very interesting read and agree with a vast majority of what has been said, with some qualification. I should point out I have never met or communicated with the fighting cock or those who organise 1882 and these views are very much my own.

    I am a season ticket holder and occasional away traveller and have attended three 1882 games so far (Espanyol, Hull and Sheriff) which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I guess in this sense I perhaps believe the common assumption that appears to be building that the 2 groups are mutually exclusive. It is true that 1882 does seem to have attracted a generally younger demographic of fans (of which I am one at 24) but not everyone who attends is young and many who attend are indeed present at every home game as well. During the three 1882 games I have attended the atmosphere within the 1882 section has been superb, and being part of it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

    In answer to Dan’s question about the aim of 1882, I believe that the aim of 1882 is to get the whole stadium rocking rather than a private/cliquey party. 1882 have been very clear that anyone is welcome and it would seem to me that part of the reason for moving down to the Park Lane from East Upper was in order to allow more people to get involved. It is true that 1882 has been communicated almost exclusively via twitter and the internet but this is more a result of the channels available to them then anything else.

    In relation to the songs I agree to an extent with Dan. I do believe a greater focus on simpler more well known songs could help to spread the noise around the stadium and make those outside the block feel more able to be involved and included. As a result I believe this would be a very good idea and it is one I will endeavour to support. I would certainly love to see ‘oh when the Spurs’ dragged out for a good ten minute stint at some point next time out. That said, I don’t believe it would be desirable to have only those songs known by the entire stadium ‘on loop for 90 minutes’. At the end of the day, singing a variety of songs helps to keep the energy up and makes for a more engaging experience. Many of the songs are not that hard to learn and new songs do have to come from somewhere. As with most things in life it is about striking a balance.

    Another key point is 1882 is not an army. There is no one governing what is and isn’t sung. Part of the reason it has been successful in generating noise is people feel confident to start whatever chant they want (within reasonable moral boundaries) and that the people around them, will most likely support them in song. Taking this aspect away could substantially hamper 1882’s efforts. I personally do not deem songs ‘cringe’ or below me because they originated in the lower leagues and prefer to treat them as a ‘bit of a laugh’ even if I cannot muster quite the same passion I can during a rendition of ‘Oh when the Spurs’. If such chants really aren’t your cup of tea then there is no obligation to get involved, just save your voice to help support belt out the classics.

    I agree entirely with Paul that fans are under no obligation to sing when attending games, however much I wish they would. People should be able to enjoy the game however they want without fear of derision and without having to stand for 90 minutes. After my evenings spent with 1882 I am exhausted. The delightful elderly gentleman who sits very near my season ticket in East Upper cannot be expected to stand and sing in the same manner and this is where the club needs to step in (as Paul has already mentioned) and ensure that those that are booking tickets in a block allocated for 1882 are informed of what this will likely entail beforehand. As for the chanting relating to the noise and singing in different areas of the stadium I am fairly sure this was intended as no more than friendly banter but if this is not how it has been received then it should stop.

    That’s my essay over! I really hope 1882 is able to work through any issues that have arisen and can continue to work to improve the atmosphere in the stadium as a whole while providing supremely enjoyable nights for those of us that choose to get involved. I am glad fans have, for the most part, been able to have a sensible dialogue about this. For those who have been swearing and trolling each other, please stop. We Spurs fans are better than that. All of us.

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